by Robert Hamilton
Holtville, California, once known for being the carrot capital of the world, was a small farming town that helped feed the country. Holtville is a town you would see in 1950s T.V. show. There was one blinking stop light. The streets rolled up by 9 p.m. Crime was extremely low. That changed in the 1920s.
A home was owned by an elderly couple. Mr. Baldwin a man in his 60s who always sealed a deal with a handshake, and Mrs. Baldwin a devoted wife and mother who raised their children to become successful and who eventually moved away to start their own families. On a hot summer night, the Baldwins’ happy lives came to a tragic as their house was ransacked, and a small amount of money had been taken—not enough for two peoples’ lives. The next day their bodies were found in the kitchen and the hallway of their beloved home. This double murder was the start of the horrifying rumors about the old Baldwin place. Over the years, many teens said an old man covered with blood chased them from the house. Other trespassers too, had reported the same phenomenon.
May of 1982, I ran into to a friend, Brett Norton, we met later in the day to have a few beers and catch up on things. Brett was easy going guy that loved practical jokes and was a police officer for the city of Holtville. After a few beers during our conversation, we started talking about the old Baldwin house. Brett became a little uneasy. Brett said the story he was going to tell me was true and that it has continued to haunt him until this day. One night at the Holtville police station, talking to the younger officers, the subject of the Baldwin house came up. The younger officers laughed at the stories. As it was a slow night, Officer Norton decided to take them to the Baldwin house, which was only about a fifteen-minute ride from the police station.
Around 1:30 a.m. two police patrol units drove towards the Baldwin place. The younger officers were not laughing as before. The house looked sinister with the brush and the dead trees around it. It had long since been neglected. The officers removed the boards on the door that had kept the house sealed for years and entered. The air in the house had a musty smell and the dirt on the floor. The inside of the home looked like you would see in a horror movie. Old decaying wood, spider webs and a very unsettling feeling.
After a few minutes, the nervous laughter from the young officers stopped, and fear set in. One of the younger officers yelled and fell to the floor. He said something hit him on his chest, causing his fall. For a split second, everyone else thought he was kidding, playing out an elaborate joke. Then all three officers saw a man who appeared to be in his 60s standing in the hallway. The man was chalky white with blood on his face. The man turned and walked down the hallway and disappeared. Still on the floor, the young officer got up as the others ran through the house to locate the intruder and arrest him for hitting the officer.
A thorough search of the house located no one. No shoe prints in the dirt could be found. The floor plan of the house was such that the hallway led to two bedrooms, and there was no exit to the outside from the hallway. Added to that, the rear of the house was still boarded up. No one could have entered or left the house from the rear. Finding no one, all three officers gave up the search.
It was a quiet ride back to the police station. No explanation of the old man was ever given, no one had one. They all saw the old man, but they never found him.
The old Baldwin house seemed stuck in time. As in no graffiti, beer bottles or anything you might see in an abandoned house. The house was demolished in 1983. The land is being used for agriculture. There have been no further incidents where the old house once stood. The perpetrator(s) were never caught. Perhaps Mr. Baldwin found peace.
Robert Hamilton was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and grew up in a small village called Wappinger Falls. After his parents divorced, he moved to Florida before making Southern California home. There, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a Deputy Sheriff. Fifteen years later his career came to a crashing end after experiencing a job-related injury that caused him to be Honorably retired. As a Deputy, Robert saw and heard things that were unexplained and without explanation: ghosts, evil, and just strange things. This was not new to him, as he had seen and heard things as a small child. Psychic? No, he’d be rich. Robert enjoys reading stories of the unexplained and flying his drone.